Steelers Versus Chiefs – Winners And Losers

The Pittsburgh Steelers droped to 0-3 on the preseason Saturday night with their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Heinz Field, but the first team offense and defense played well for the most part in the first half. Here is my weekly list of winners and losers and make sure to add yours below in the comments.


Cortez Allen – Allen saw his first preseason action of year after missing the previous two games and most of training camp following minor knee surgery. Not only did the former fourth-round draft pick look good fully recovered, he also led all Steelers with six tackles and added a pass defensed to boot.

Ben Roethlisberger – Roethlisberger looked ready for the start of the regular season and finished the game 13-of-19 for 166 yards and a touchdown pass to Jonathan Dwyer that included him extending the play under heavy pressure. The quarterback almost had another touchdown pass to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, but the receiver couldn\’t hold onto the perfectly thrown football when he landed in the end zone.

Derek Moye – Moye is really pushing hard for the fifth roster spot and helped his cause Saturday night as he registered three catches for 41 yards. Several of those yards came after first contact and he might have had another catch that would have been close to the goal-line had quarterback Bruce Gradkowski delivered it to his back shoulder.

Alan Baxter – Baxter has been a pleasant surprise and he registered two sacks in the game and a forced fumble. In addition, he added a special teams tackle and you always like to see backup linebackers hitting the stat sheet in that category.

Markus Wheaton – Wheaton continues to impress and had three more catches of which one was 34-yard touchdown from Gradkowski. He finished the game with 54 yard receiving

Ziggy Hood – Hood really showed up in this game as registered four total tackles and a sack.


Josh Victorian – If Victorian is going to make the team he has to improve his tackling. Saturday night it hurt the Steelers on special teams as whiffed on the 109-yard kick return for a touchdown by Knile Davis that allowed the Chiefs right back into the game. If that wasn\’t bad enough, the young cornerback also was flagged for pass interference and the penalty negated the interception by linebacker Jarvis Jones.

Maurkice Pouncey – While Pouncey blocked much better in this game, he was flagged once for a false start and another time for holding. The holding call negated a first down run by running back Felix Jones.

Chris Carter – Carter remains invisible for the most part and only recorded one tackle in the game. He now has two tackles on the season and could be in jeopardy of losing his roster spot to Baxter.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Ziggy Hood has looked strong throughout the preseason so far. Hopefully a sign of things to come this year. I don’t like seeing Pouncey’s penalties, but I know I’ve seen him play better and play penalty-free in more important games, so he doesn’t have me worried. He is deserving of the ‘loser’ column for this game though.

    Chris Carter…the silent outside linebacker. I didn’t know that was possible. According to Wexell, the coaches like the fact that he’s becoming a young leader and is teaching the guys beneath him. But if he can’t make any impact on defense, what is the point? I wonder if the Steelers playing Garvin at ROLB down the stretch can be taken as a sign of anything.

  • T R

    uhm you type winners twice but definite them are the losers… i mean real losers

  • Joe Bu

    Yep, no losers? I think you forgot “Burned every play” Willie Gay — TERRIBLE whiff on coverage /technique on the TD in the redzone. You also forgot Paulson with a drop and at least 2 missed blocks

  • SteelersDepot

    You mean the TD that Troy has underneath responsibility on and Gay has over the top resposibility?

  • Joe Bu

    Yep, I see that now, but still wonder if you have over the top coverage, how is the guy deeper down the field? Anyway, not to hammer on Gay, but my bigger issues are watching corners that play 10 yard cushions on short yardage downs. In the end, I trust LeBeau’s system, but that shtuff needs to stop. It’s how some QB’s have ripped the Steelers D apart before despite being the number 1 D statistically.

    Anyway, it will be good to see Ike and Cortez starting, and hopefully Shamarko as the big nickel corner. Golden looked a little (Silver) tarnished tonight from the replays I saw (which were limited) Not sure if they had him at safety or in the nickel (Only caught a quick glimpse)

    Thanks again Dave for all you and the other Dave do – I’ll be getting you guys a cup of coffee soon.

  • gene mann

    What did you think of the paly of Long? I like to see Dunn Thurs get some time as WR. Victorian moved down a bit . do you think the steelers will be looking at the waiver wire.

  • gene mann

    I still trying to figure why Gay is here.

  • Busforever

    I though our WR did well tonight. Antonio Brown and Sanders had good plays. Pouncey is not playing very well so far in pre season. Some penalties, some hesitations when he is moving… I would also pick Cam Heyward as a loser. When he was here, he wasn’t disruptive at all. Sometimes he made tackles, but that was when the play was coming to him.

  • sgtrobo

    Seems we’re allowing our DL get upfield rather than constantly play patty-cake. Not a big surprise that they’re doing much better this way.

  • sgtrobo

    and here we go again. We’ll just go ahead and blame Troy everytime the guy Gay is supposed to be covering scores a TD. I’m betting it’ll happen close to 16 times, and the Bill Gay Gestapo will run to his defense all 16 times because he apparently is blameless.

  • sgtrobo

    to titillate opposing QBs and WRs

  • sgtrobo

    “over the top responsibility”. He’s a CB who lined up on him at the goal line.
    Gay got burned.
    Left the guy off the LoS without a single bit of contact.
    Gay gave up inside leverage.
    Gay gave up a TD.

    Keep going with your Bill Gay Gestapo bit though. The only people who like Gay more than you are the opposing team’s QBs and WRs

  • Matthew Marczi

    Agreed, but to be fair I started noticing Ziggy picking things up toward the end of last season as well.

  • sgtrobo

    I think that’s because Ziggy is a physical beast, and while everybody else was wearing down from the long season, his ridiculously impressive conditioning kept him going. I root for the dude like nobody’s business. True team player.

    So now what the heck do we do? Do we extend Ziggy? Is he going to get paid or is he going to get a reasonable contract? McLuvin’ sure looked good at NT from what I saw, and Heyward was on a seek and destroy mission all night long.

    All-22 the games Heyward played vs. Cleveland and the Ravens last year. Our damn DL is starting to look VERY good and I think the Ole’ Dick is shifting his focus from the LBs to the DL (probably with good reason).

    With Woodley back into the swing of things, our defense might be pretty darn nasty this season

  • RW

    The corners play off against non-elite quarterbacks. The take away is that the more plays an offense has to run, the more mistakes they are prone to making (this has been LeBeau’s philosophy since day 1, and he has uttered these exact words). He was forced to adjust against teams with elite QBs like Tom Brady and elite TEs like Rob Gronkowski, and you saw the beginnings of that two years ago and it continued last year with the Big Nickel package.

  • steeltown

    I thought Long played much improved, there were a few snaps where he got beat, but in all I thought he looked better this week at RT, plus keep in mind he’s playing next to Whimper

  • steeltown

    Cam had a decent game, he had a sack, a TFL and 3 QB Hits

  • steeltown

    Definitely Moye, he looked like a man not wanting to go to the practice squad and it looks like Gradkowski is comfortable with him

    C.Allen and Baxter both had really good games, both impressive and I might also put V.Williams on the winners list, 5tckles and a PD which has to make you smile after all of the uncertainty of his coverage skills

    I would definitely put Victorian on the list of losers, hell at this point I think Danny Smith might need to start appearing on these

  • steeltown

    Agreed, everyone tells me to give C.Carter a break and he’ll come around eventually, but we have guys (young guys) who are contributing right now… Baxter and Garvin both look more disruptive IMO

  • Kevin Artis

    Under losers you should add: Danny Smith.

  • NW86

    RE: carter and Baxter, I was wondering the same thing. But if Jarvis is going to miss significant time, maybe you keep both.

  • John Hinton

    I hope he doesn’t make the 53 man roster.

  • Bradys_Dad

    Both Gay and Whimper should be concerned about the “yutes” behind them. Neither one has shown a hint of the talent needed to stick. Nothing. IMO

  • gene mann

    thanks steeltown for the info

  • walter mason

    simple answer in one word – depth

  • walter mason

    well you are sure to be disappointed as Gay will most certainly make the roster

  • Kevin

    Antonio Brown
    Jarvis Jones (excluding the his injury)
    Troy Polamalu
    Cortez Allen
    Steve McClendon
    Lawrence Timmons
    Derek Moye
    Alan Baxter
    Jonathan Dwyer
    The O-Line
    Markus Wheaton


    Josh Victorian (he had a bad game but he is much better this season, probably better than Gay and ought to make the roster)

    William Gay (we are gonna miss Keenan Lewis this year)

    Cameron Heyward (what a bust)

    Felix Jones (Alvester Alexander looked more impressive frankly)

    David Gilreath (he was almost a lock for a roster spot, but ever since muffing that kick vs the Giants he has been invisible)

    Danny Smith (special teams coach… this guy sucks, because special teams has screwed us in all 3 games; he needs to impress in Pre-season week 4 or else we need to replace him before he starts costing us games.)

  • JohnnyV1

    I don’t think those two plays put Josh on the Losers list. Yes, he missed the tackle on ST, but that whole unit didn’t execute very well, on that play, or this pre-season. Heck Suisham even made the tackle on the OT kickoff. When your kicker is making tackles, you have issues. As for the pass interference, I didn’t see that as flagrant and Jones wouldn’t have gotten the INT if Victorian doesn’t disrupt the receiver. This is not to say Victorian is great, or will make the team. I’m just taking issue w/ the two points made in the article is all.

  • cencalsteeler

    I would like to add Cotch to the winners column. You can see Ben is starting to look for him in third down situations and broken plays, just as he does with Heath. When Miller comes back, that is going to be a nice added combination for Ben to have. The choice of checking down to either Miller or Cotch is an added bonus in comparison to just looking to Heath. The stats might not be flashy, but the trust factor is what puts them in the winners category for me.

  • Don

    I’m not liking the performance of the OL in the running game, but as I understand it the outside zone takes time and can look ugly before everything clicks. I saw a few times where the backside OT couldn’t hold his block which took away the cut back. If they can get that block, there were a few plays that could have gone a lot better. So I’m optimistically holding out hope that as they continue to work on it, the results could improve.

    Also I liked what I saw in Felix Jones.

  • Steven Vincent
  • Steven Vincent

    Why not turn Cotchery into a TE? He is a solid blocker with good hands and good size.

  • Earl Murphy

    carter had his time, move on to baxter.

  • Earl Murphy

    Some team has to be dropping a CB with more potential then Gay the next two weeks.

  • Intropy

    I think I’m more or less a supported of Gay, but that one’s on him. Troy has responsibility to help out, and he did get there a touch late due to a slow reaction to the direction of the pass. Gay is supposed to be trailing that receiver on his break inside as he does, but he needs to be on his hip, not trailing that receiver two yard behind him.

  • Intropy

    “Not well” is an understatement. Pouncey has looked downright awful this preseason. I expect him to step it up quickly, because he’s a great player. But what he’s shown in three games is a far cry from the pro-bowl material we’re accustomed to from him.

  • Intropy

    Heyward? I thought he played a nice game.

    Dwyer, Jones, Howling, and Batch have combined this preseason to tell us what we should already have known. Blocking is significantly more important to the success of a run that the running itself is. The running back position isn’t without skill or talent, but what happens up front, particularly play-side, makes a huge difference.

  • Intropy

    Outside zone does take time to learn. I’m disappointed we’re not seeing a lot more of it during the preseason.